Questions are being raised about the Central Migration Office in Berlin, known as “Landesamt für Einwanderung (LEA),” and its ability to address issues of discrimination and promote diversity, especially as its responsibilities are set to expand in the coming year.
The office is currently grappling with an increase in workload, as recent reports indicate the presence of ten thousand unanswered emails and an absence of available appointments for the next six months.
LEA’s President, Ingo Mahnke, described the situation as approaching a “breaking point of work overload.”
The immigration office in Berlin is approaching a point of operational incapacity
With the office poised to host the new Central Naturalization Center for the capital, which aims to increase the annual number of individuals gaining citizenship in Berlin from 8,000 to 20,000, concerns are mounting about its ability to handle this additional burden.
Elif Eralp, a member of the Left Party in Berlin, highlighted concerns about the immigration authority’s ability to handle its tasks. Her inquiries revealed that there are “insufficient efforts to make LEA sensitive to issues of discrimination, even in the establishment of the new naturalization department.”
Despite the city government’s demands for a sensitive approach to discrimination, the assessment provided by Eralp reveals the opposite.
Whereas training on combating discrimination and promoting diversity was only provided to 25 out of over 500 employees in the office during the past year and a half.
Concerns have escalated due to the complaints filed against LEA employees, with five complaints under the government discrimination law and an additional 50 complaints since the beginning of 2022.
These conditions underscore an urgent need for external oversight of LEA and an independent quality monitoring mechanism, especially with the upcoming opening of the new Central Naturalization Office.
Eralp suggests the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to combat discrimination and promote diversity, along with external guidance, to ensure the effectiveness of operations in the new office.
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